Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

A Traveler’s Thought: On Starting Anew


I read somewhere that rather than considering one’s goals or a new year’s resolution as a question of “What do you want to do/accomplish this year?”, or “What do you want out of life?” to reframe it as “How do you choose to suffer?” or “What is the pain that you want to sustain?”

I was thinking of along the same lines, but with different words: “What is worth working hard for?” rather than what I wanted for 2016.

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In Japan, it is said that the second day of the new year is when one should start lessons for things one wants to learn or practice you want to make into habits and a routine.

I am not sure why the 2nd day, but I suppose it falls in line with the tradition of setting new year’s resolution (which psychologists now say starting on a set day that means something, like one’s birthday or the beginning of a new year does improve the odds for achieving one’s goals).

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The Japanese practice of starting something on the second day helps to reframe the question of what do I want this year to action, where there will be struggles, hard work, and perhaps even failure. But we start where we are, and if at first we don’t succeed, then we have the opportunity to start again.

When I was moving to Denmark, my colleague gave me what I thought was an insightful advice: try something you haven’t tried before when you get there. He went onto say that I should try something you don’t normally consider, because the new environment can get you in a different mindset. After 2 years of living in Denmark and returning to the U.S. but to another city, I wanted to heed his advice again.

On the second day of 2016, I went to a park where some folks were practicing tai chi. Not having had any lessons before, I quietly joined the group in the back and mimicked their moves for the next 45 minutes (until the moves got more advanced than I can muster). I hope to make it my practice this year for my mind and body, however difficult it may be, because it’s worth the work.

Photo: a park in Beijing, China




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This entry was posted on January 2, 2016 by in Culture, Travel and tagged , .
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